Prices surge up in June

Steve Henn Jul 16, 2008
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Prices surge up in June

Steve Henn Jul 16, 2008
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Scott Jagow: People are saying they can’t handle any more depressing economic news. Hey, I don’t blame you; it’s wearing me out too. It’s been very difficult lately to find good things to report, but we’re gonna try this morning.

OK, here’s something: Industrial production was pretty good last month. Wells Fargo said profits only fell 22 percent last quarter — that was better than Wall Street expected. And the consumer price index just came out. In June, prices had their biggest jump in 26 years.

OK, that’s not so good, but I asked reporter Steve Henn to dig a little deeper.


Steve Henn: Diane Swonk is chief economist at Mesirow Financial. She joined us from Chicago this morning where the weather is…

Diane Swonk: It’s hotter than hell! If the economy was that hot, we wouldn’t have a problem. The problem is inflation is hot.

Consumer prices rose more than one percent last month alone, but wholesale prices shot up at almost twice that pace so businesses are feeling the heat even more acutely than you are.

Swonk: And that means all the inflation we are seeing today, there are still more price hikes down the road.

The good news — if you can call it that — is that high energy and fuel prices are putting a pinch on consumer spending. That could tip us into a recession and then inflation will cool off.

So look on the bright side: In the long run, maybe this is good for us. Then again, maybe not.

Swonk: Nothing is fun in the long run and as Keynes said, we are all dead in the long run.

In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

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